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Day: July 3, 2023

Derynia and Varosha

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

Famagusta is in Northern Cyprus. Outer Famagusta, Varosha, was left for decades as a ghost town after the invasion, with a vague notion that it might be returned to the Republic of Cyprus eventually. That prospect was abandoned in 2019. and people are starting to move in to Varosha from the north. Greeks are not […]

Ledra St

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

Ledra St is the main drag of Nicosia, and this is Ledra St on a Saturday night. … It’s disappointing. Nicosia is not a big place to begin with, population of 200k. But as a capital of a sovereign state, I do still expect a bit more than the central square such as it is, […]

The Louis Night Show

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Posted in categories: Greece, Language

I have not explored Nicosia yet, but I’ve already got a preview of the broader play of diglossia in this Country through the local James Corden knockoff, Louis Patsalidis. I am told Patsalidis is from my ancestral village of Kalopanayiotis. I don’t know that is something for Kalopanayiotis to take pride in, he’s just about […]

Cyprus 2023, initial linguistic observations

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Posted in categories: Greece, Language

Dialects in Greece are dead, unless you know where to go looking, and even when you do, you’re not going to find much any more. And the centralising Greek state is spreading Standard Greek further; Mariupol is now Standard Greek-speaking as well. Cyprus is not Greece, and that has not happened here. What has happened […]

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

I’ve had a rather ambivalent time of it being in Athens, but I’m more than happy to be spending my last night of it here, in the Roman theater of Herodes Atticus, right under the Acropolis (see first picture). Verdi’s Requiem playing. It’s pretty awesome. And the seats are a welcome touch. So that was […]

Benaki museum: Proto-Bouzouki music

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece, Music

There is a prehistory to bouzouki music, that we really don’t know much about. The conventional narrative is that the music came to Greece with refugees from Turkey in the 1920s. But we know that bouzouki-like instruments were being played in Greece throughout the 19th century (the tambouras specifically), and this picture is only one […]

Benaki museum: Ballad of the dead brother

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

Occasionally among the jumble of artifacts in a museum, something pops up out of nowhere with huge symbolic meaning, and you wonder just how the hell the museum even got hold of it, and why it doesn’t have a room to itself. In the museum of folk instruments, that was the lyra of Nikos Xilouris, […]

Benaki museum: Mr Edward Lear

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

Mid-19th century sketches of ruins in the Peloponnese by Edward Lear. Yes, that Edward Lear. Mr Limerick had another career as a painter, with a particular affinity with Greece. His manservant was a Suliote. Lear even visited the Greek colony in Corsica, but was disappointed that the locals had long abandoned traditional Greek dress, which […]

Benaki museum: Old Corfu Town

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

A 19th century take on the Corfu Esplanade, and on Governor Maitland’s mansion, a bit before it turned into the museum of Asian Art. As I found on my own visit, Corfu is a lot more built up now. In fact, I would have thought it was a lot more built up even in the […]

Benaki museum: Folk Constantine the Great

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Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

A take from Siphnos, early 19th century, on what Constantine the Great in the hippodrome of Constantinople must surely have looked like, complete with the True Cross and the serpents column originally from Delphi, and still to be seen there. Notice of course that no 19th century Greek could imagine Constantine the Great clean shaven, […]

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